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Ph. © urladelsilenzio

Talking about theatre and public financing seems to be like dusting again some eternal questions, that have polemically divided a lot of compartments of the same field in the past.

Yet disputes and crashes in the last weeks seem to prelude an “alteration of course” and an internal cohesion never seen before. What’s really happening?

An example of these strange times is the relationship between the debate in the past and what’s happening today, i.e. between December 2004 at the opening of the renewed Scala and December 2010 ! During the opening of the Scala and the debut of Wagner’s Walkiria, before starting, Mr.Daniel Baremboin began reading the Art. N° 9 of Italian constitution with reference to the peaceful disputes and defences in the square outside.

Just six years ago a lot of polemics were raging on the receivers of public funds, like the operistic theatre in Milan together with many other Italian theatres not only dedicated to music.Man was discussing and fighting about the right amount of money to be given to someone, dispite of the Off Theatre or the jazz music world, often remaining with nothing in hand.

Clear worried differences seemed not to alarm anymore: mean money would only go to rich palaces and drawing-rooms. Very good for who was in, but who was out had to manage, without slowly consider that the law of the trap can touch everyone, before or after, and this really happened.

In this 2011 F.U.S. (Unique Fund for Show) is having a drastic cut of 30% that for the prosa is summing to the previous 9% already cut in November 2010.

Without being a Cassandra or Spurinna, the diviner who predicted Cesar’s death, it’s easy to guess the probable closing of various theatres or, in a better view, no reconstruction of some buildings. Another tragical consequence is the definitive ending of many professional experiences, starting from the actors on stage till people working in the backstage and also the interruption of acting schools. Why do people study as an actor or as a scene-designer, when these works aren’t available anymore?

For the first time orchestra professors are going to a big crisis, like the working class in the last decades: the maxim “A chacun son tour” (Everyone’s spell) can’t be a justification. Base of such a bad operation is the exact but unhealthy hided idea that culture is an unnecessary good.

When man includes in the same list music, from opera to rap, theatre, literature all together with other six arts, in the distinguished dustbin called “free time”, two considerations are inevitable clear.

The first one is that all the rest must be “prisoner time” (madness!) and the dramatic second one is that art is something unnecessary and, for this reason, sacrificed in the name of budgets without any compliments.

Obviously everything is done without taking care of the fact that cultural production has a gain and then a positive reaction on the rest and this demonstrates that also culture can “make money”.

It’s ridiculous to listen to certain examples of non-culture that are leaders in the moment they talk through one’s hat about public investments in our country and in many other.

For example Broadway, the liberal American municipality carefully feed a world that otherwise could not stand by itself, owing to the magnificence of some productions. The same is happening in the nearest France: at the moment it’s the landmark of all Europe for jazz music, literature, cartoons and the same it’s Germany for classical music.

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Unless the financing naturally becomes an exchange tool or better a favourable blackmail weapon, like “I give you money, but what are you giving me’”, a sort of kickback to feed political choises. It’s better to remember that in that case it would become good material for penal justice.

Another bad matter is the conservation of Italian artistic and archeological goods: it’s the 50% of the intire humanity property. But in front of the recent collapse in Pompei, a lasting misfortune that started many years ago with the construction of a restaurant inside the “domus pompeiana” (sigh!) and the following Minister Bondi’s considerations, it’s easy to understand that all the chosen ways are the worst. To tell the truth it’s perhaps more necessary today than ever to open a reflection on the general cultural perception inside our society. It’s very sad to think that, in the 150° anniversary, we still need to fight with an history that melts like snow under the sun after any years of school.

Goffredo Mameli’s national anthem, even if it’s not a masterpiece, is considered like a jingle during the Italian football matches of our national team. Garibaldi is not a vip, Resistance period, Fascism, contemporary history are all black moments and the Italian flag is just a piece of a three colours cloth.If old people have forgotten it (or do they want to forget ?) and adults are busy in different affairs (perhaps in order to hide their ignorance), we don’t have to be astonished if a lot of young people, with or without instruction, don’t know their way of origin. In these conditions what kind of culture can we talk about ?

Etimologically the world “culture” comes from the latin word “cultus”, i.e. who keeps “colere”= to cultivate and the word “cultured”, too. Practically cultivation gives its fruit and this means the growing of a civilization in a metaphoric way. First of all this foresees the sowing of those references of mind and spirit in the posterity and bystanders, that can guarantee a real evolution of human society. For this reason, the different kinds of culture, including cuttings in university and school, is the endemic salt of humanity and of its existence.

When a minister of the Republic takes the liberty of declaring that “it’s impossible to eat with culture”, he simultaneously makes two economic conceptual absurdities, as showed before. First of all it’s like saying that one can’t survive just with fruits from a linguistic point of view and also that one can’t live with his life.

Dialectical mistake or choice of field ? To tell the truth it seems that cultural food is so indigestible for some maximum systems of this country to be opposed by all those means of bad politic. Practically this declaration leads to a collective suicide invitation of consciences in the sign of a real incommunicability, calming down the aberration behind an inconscious approval.

It’s like saying, “Orwell docet” !

Now the best wish for this new year is al least to be able so see in Italy a valorization of its cultural duty, too. This would be seen as a resource of humanity and not as an enemy of any strange system, hoping in an awakening of metacognition perception.

Have a nice 2011 in the sign of partecipation ….

(Claudio Elli & Alex Miozzi)

Translate by Loredana Grandi

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